At this year's BEA, booksellers got a taste of what promises to be an exciting season, with a number of high-profile titles scheduled to hit the shelves throughout the fall.
Cammie Mannino, owner of Halfway Down the Stairs in Rochester, Mich., was struck by the number of sequels. "There are some that you know will be popular with customers: If You Take a Mouse to School, the new book by Jamie Lee Curtis, the new Chris Van Allsburg, which seems to be an outer space version of Jumanji," Mannino said. "I didn't see the Great New Christmas book--which we haven't had one of in lo these many years."
This year's Book Sense Book of the Year Award winners in the children's categories were Olivia Saves the Circus by Ian Falconer (Atheneum/Schwartz) and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares (Delacorte), and, in the brand-new "Rediscovery" category, My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett (Random House).
Elsewhere at the Random House booth, booksellers were talking about Carl Hiaasen's first young adult novel, Hoot, to be published by Knopf this fall, with a first printing of 75,000 copies. "People came looking for [Hoot]," reported Judith Haut, executive director of publicity. "When people hear he has a children's book, their eyes light up."
Knopf is hoping that its redesigned paperback editions of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy will extend the adult crossover market for his books. New York's Bravest by Mary Pope Osborne, illus. by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher, a picture-book ode to firefighters, will have a first printing of 75,000 copies and will be given to every fire station in New York City.
Many booksellers commented on the bounty of YA novels from writers like Hiaasen who are making forays from the adult world this fall. "There seem to be a lot of adult writers who have novels for kids coming out in fall, like Clive Barker, Michael Chabon, Carl Hiaasen, Neil Gaiman--just to name a few," said Lisa Dugan, children's buyer for Koen Distributors in Moorestown, N.J. "I don't know if that's my favorite thing, but it's certainly a phenomenon."
In addition to Random, HarperCollins will be publishing three such titles (on the heels of this month's Big Mouth and Ugly Girl, Joyce Carol Oates's first YA novel). Abarat (HarperCollins/Cotler), the first title in Clive Barker's four-book series will have a first printing of 200,000 copies. Neil Gaiman is coming out with Coraline in July, with a 150,000-copy first printing; the audiobook, read by Gaiman, with music by the Gothic Archies, will be released from HarperChildren's Audio two weeks before the book's publication. The third YA debut, City of the Beast by Isabel Allende, will have a 200,000-copy first printing in November.
Also for Harper, Meg Cabot returns with a non-Princess Diaries title, All-American Girl (Sept.), which will have a first printing of 125,000 copies. On the picture-book front, I'm Gonna Like Me (HarperCollins/Cotler), the fifth title from Jamie Lee Curtis, illus. by Laura Cornell, has a 350,000-copy first printing and a September 17 laydown. If You Take a Mouse to School (HarperCollins/Geringer) by Laura Numeroff, illus. by Felicia Bond, will launch with 500,000 copies. Valerie Lewis, co-owner of Hicklebee's in San Jose, Calif., has compiled her favorite stories in The HarperCollins Treasury of Picture Book Classics; it will have a first printing of 200,000 copies. The first book from popular greeting-card and gift illustrator Mary Engelbreit will interpret Clement C. Moore's classic The Night Before Christmas (first printing: 250,000).
Another eagerly anticipated sequel could be found at the Farrar, Straus & Giroux booth, the third installment of Joey Pigza's adventures, What Would Joey Do? by Jack Gantos. Other lead titles included William Steig's Potch & Polly, illus. by Jon Agee, and another Kate Banks/ Georg Hallensleben collaboration, Close Your Eyes. Also this fall, FSG is reissuing much of its backlist for British artist Anthony Browne.
Little, Brown's main draws at BEA included Jerry Seinfeld's debut picture book, Halloween, illus. by James Bennett, which will hit stores in September with a first printing of 250,000 copies; a book-and-CD version will get an additional printing of 50,000. Holly Hobbie's popular pigs reappear in Toot & Puddle: Top of the World, which will have a first printing of 75,000. Jane Dyer makes her debut as an author in Little Brown Bear Won't Take a Nap! this fall. Megan Tingley Books showcased two fall titles: The Feel Good Book by Todd Parr and The Perfect Purple Feather by Hanoch Piven.
Children's Programming and More
Events aimed at children's booksellers raised the profiles of additional titles. Headlining an afternoon of programming with the theme of "Take Comfort in Books" on Thursday were keynote speakers Russell Freedman, who described the unlikely places his research took him for his upcoming biography, Confucius (Scholastic/Levine); and Mark Teague, who showed slides of his creative process for his fall book Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School (Scholastic Press).
The appearance of Chicken House founder and editor Barry Cunningham at the ABC luncheon on Thursday spiked enthusiasm for his list's The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke, a German novel that will have a 75,000-copy printing. Booksellers lined up in Scholastic's booth to get signed copies of the two titles in the new HipKidHop series by Doug E. Fresh and LL Cool J; the books will have a combined print run of 100,000 and include a CD recording. A third book about the star of the Caldecott Honor title No, David! by David Shannon, called David Gets in Trouble (Scholastic/Blue Sky) will have a 125,000-copy first printing.
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner and Caldecott-winning artist Maurice Sendak began Friday's Children's Book and Author Breakfast with a brief background on Brundibar (Hyperion/di Capua), their fall picture-book collaboration based on a Czech opera performed by Jewish children in the Terezin concentration camp; the book will have a 250,000-copy first printing. Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison and her son and co-author, Slade Morrison, signed copies of their second collaboration for Hyperion, The Book of Mean People, illus. by Pascal Lemaître, with a 75,000-copy printing. Adult bestselling author Michael Chabon said he was "inspired by writers such as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien" and wanted to create a fantasy that intertwined "baseball and an American mythology" in his book Summerland (Hyperion/Talk Miramax). The novel, due in October, will have a 250,000-copy first printing; 1,500 galleys were given away at the booth.
Simon & Schuster hosted a tea party at New York's Plaza Hotel in honor of Eloise, its most famous resident, which got booksellers rawther excited about Eloise Takes a Bawth by Kay Thompson, with new material by Mart Crowley, illus. by Hilary Knight, with a 200,000-copy initial printing.
At the S&S offices, an open house on Thursday evening celebrated the 250,000-copy printing of Robert Sabuda's The Night Before Christmas pop-up (S&S/ Little Simon). Similar enthusiasm for Terence Blacker's The Angel Factory resulted in the vanishing of 1,500 galleys and 1,000 mouse pads. Booksellers were also snapping up galleys of Nancy Farmer's The House of the Scorpion (Atheneum/ Jackson). Olympic gold and silver medalist Apolo Anton Ohno made an appearance at the S&S booth on Sunday; he has a three-book deal with the publisher, one of which is his autobiography, due out in October with a planned 50,000-copy first printing.
A 10th anniversary party brought booksellers to the Candlewick booth, where they could examine several of David Ellwand's fashion creations for Fairie-ality, with drawings by David Downton. Ellwand showcased tiny dresses, bodices and tops made from feathers, corn husks and other transient materials--and fitted for his magical subject and lore--in transparent boxes. "Most of them only last until they are photographed, then turn to dust," Ellwand said.
Chris Raschka was on hand for the celebration, autographing posters for I Pledge Allegiance by Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Samson, which Raschka illustrated. Also on display in the booth was original artwork by Anita Jeram for Don't You Feel Well, Sam? by Amy Hest, the fall sequel to Kiss Good Night; and paintings by Bagram Ibatouilline for Stephen Mitchell's retelling of The Nightingale.
Kate DiCamillo, author of Because of Winn-Dixie, greeted booksellers in the Candlewick booth, many of whom complimented her on her speech at Friday's breakfast (Koen's Lisa Dugan called that speech "my favorite moment of the show").
Chris Van Allsburg's Zathura, a sequel to Jumanji, with a first printing of 75,000 copies, was the talk of the Houghton Mifflin booth. The second book in the Lord of the Rings series, The Two Towers, also received a good deal of attention. Houghton's Christina Smith said several booksellers had stopped by to say, "Tolkien helped make my year." She said the publisher plans a similar promotion with Book Sense for the second title, based on the success of the first team effort.
A new book from Lois Lowry, Gooney Bird Greene (Sept.), and Bernard Waber's Courage (Oct.) also caught the eyes of booksellers. Next door at the Clarion booth, news of Katherine Paterson's novel The Same Stuff as Stars (Sept.), sparked discussion, as did To Fly by Wendie Old, illus. by Robert Andrew Parker, due in October, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Wrights' flight at Kitty Hawk.
At the Harcourt booth, a mix of new and returning characters garnered interest. On display was My Little Blue Robot, Stephen Johnson's follow-up to My Little Red Toolbox; this Silver Whistle title will be published in October with a first printing of 150,000 copies. Elise Primavera's Auntie Claus returns this fall in Auntie Claus and the Key to Christmas (also Silver Whistle), which will have a first printing of 150,000 copies. A costumed character appeared at the Harcourt booth, handing out copies of Auntie Claus. A Nickelodeon film based on the first book is scheduled to be released in December 2003.
Will Rogers, a nonfiction picture book by Oklahoma governor Frank Keating, illus. by Mike Wimmer, was also getting strong bookseller reaction, as was Countdown to Kindergarten by first-time children's author Alison McGhee, illus. by Harry Bliss. "Booksellers are coming up and saying, 'I have to have this for my back-to-school table--when can I get it shipped?' " said associate publicity director Barbara Fisch.
Pleasant Company debuted several new projects at the show, including new American Girl character Kaya, who is Native American. Kaya will be featured in six titles, and the books will have a total first printing of 925,000 copies. "We have an American Girls club at our store, and they will just love this new one," predicted Ellen Davis, owner of Dragonwings in Waupaca, Wisc.
Booksellers also got a first look at Pleasant's new Girls of Many Lands series, which will launch this fall with five titles by various authors, including Laurence Yep and Mary Casanova. The series will have a first printing of more than 590,000 copies in all.
Angelina Ballerina will star in a new picture book--Angelina and Henry (first printing: 100,000)--as well as a new mass-market line (initial print run: 1,450,000). This will mark Pleasant Company's first foray into mass market and follows the debut of the Angelina Ballerina TV series on PBS this month.
Holt reported strong interest in A House Called Awful End by British author Philip Ardagh, illus. by David Roberts, the first title in a trilogy and Ardagh's U.S. debut; he will tour this fall. Lori Benton, associate publisher and director of marketing, reported, "One bookseller came up and said, 'We're always looking for something to give those kids who've finished the Lemony Snicket books.' " Holt's lead picture book, Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming, will have a 75,000-copy first printing.
Millbrook's Roaring Brook Press was riding high at its first BEA. "Booksellers were exclaiming, 'Is that the Ross MacDonald?' " according to publisher Simon Boughton, when they laid eyes on MacDonald's debut children's book, Another Perfect Day, a child's fantasy of superhero stardom. Another highly anticipated title is Sandra Jordan and Jan Greenberg's Action Jackson, which offers a glimpse of Jackson Pollock's creative process, illus. by Robert Andrew Parker (who, it turns out, used to lift a glass or two with Pollock).
Abrams's Howard Reeves reported that Babar's Yoga for Elephants by Laurent de Brunhoff was the hit of his booth: "Everyone's talking about it," he said. The publisher will print 100,000 copies. Also at Abrams: Tom Arma's We're Going on Safari. His signature photos pair babies with jungle creatures, and the print run is tentatively set at 75,000.
Sumo Mouse by Caldecott artist David Wisniewski was the big news at the Chronicle booth, along with The Star Wars Party Book (Oct.), based on the second Star Wars prequel.
Walter Dean Myers signed copies of his fall book for middle-graders, Three Swords for Granada (Holiday House), set in 1420 Spain; Holiday's Regina Griffin showed booksellers an early dummy of Myers's book with son Christopher Myers, Blues Journey, due in January 2003. Griffin reported, "We'll be increasing our print quantity based on the enthusiastic response."
Running Press was showing its first list of picture books at the fair. The first group of three: If You Listen by Charlotte Zolotow, reissued with new art by Stefano Vitale; Charlene Loves to Make Noise by Barbara Bottner, illus. by Alexander Stadler; and The New Alphabet of Animals by Christopher Wormell.
Booksellers flocked to the Workman booth where the publisher gave away 1,500 totebags and 1,000 blad-and-CD packs to showcase Sandra Boynton's picture book, Philadelphia Chickens (Nov.; first printing of 75,000). Workman was also highlighting the latest title in its Brain Quest series, this one focusing on America; the series has 20 million copies in print.
Other News from the Floor
A number of fall anniversaries were also showcased at BEA. Little Golden Books is turning 60, and Random is bringing out a boxed set of classics this fall, with mass-market and teacher promotions planned. This year is also the 40th anniversary of the publication of The Big Honey Hunt, Stan and Jan Berenstain's first book. Random is reissuing it and seven others, with redesigned jackets. Tying in to the anniversary is the publication of Down a Sunny Dirt Road: An Autobiography by Stan and Jan Berenstain (Sept.).
Harcourt is issuing a 60th-anniversary edition of The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde H. Swift, illus. by Lynd Ward, in August. Several events are planned to coincide with the Little Red Lighthouse Festival, to be held on September 21 in New York City.
Albert Whitman celebrates the 60th anniversary of The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner in a special edition with an introduction by Barbara Elleman.
Houghton will issue a 60th-anniversary edition of Virginia Lee Burton's The Little House plus a Mike Mulligan and More treasury by Burton, also with a foreword by Elleman, to tie in with the occasion, as well as a biography of Burton by Elleman.
Sterling has presold 50,000 copies of the new Charles Fuge title, I Know a Rhino. Silver Dolphin will now be distributing the popular Snappy series, including Snappy Little Colors, Snappy Little Numbers, etc., which have sold more than seven million copies worldwide; the new titles are scheduled to release in October.
Annick Press reported continued interest in its Mole Sisters series, which is under development for TV. The publisher will bring out two more titles this fall, Mole Sister and the Question and Mole Sister and the Cool Breeze.
Barefoot Books president Nancy Traversy, after a year on American shores, reported that sales were up by 80% for the publisher, "because we're here and we're focused." Its lead title is a Twelve Days of Christmas (Sept.), retold by Tanya Robyn Batt with illustrations by fabric artist Rachel Griffin; the book will have a tie-in advent calendar and box of 20 holiday cards.
The Bead Shop was showing the first product from its recently acquired Olivia merchandising license. The "Olivia Super Model Kit" contains a 15-inch, flat magnetic doll that comes with changeable outfits packaged in a plastic portfolio with a red feather-boa handle. It will be available in August. The Bead Shop also has plans for an Olivia charm bracelet. Other non-book merchandise was generating interest as well. "I came looking for sidelines and tie-ins," said Thea Reed, co-buyer at The Bookmark in Latham, N.Y. "MerryMakers has some nice things, especially their Captain Underpants and Junie B. Jones dolls."
While many children's booksellers were excited by the array of new titles, they also expressed disappointment that the Evening for Children's Booksellers, long a mainstay of the conference, was not held this year due to cost constraints. "In general, the energy was lower this year," observed Mannino. "It might have been because we didn't have the dinner, which has always been a major focus for us." However, many were also encouraged by the way the ABA stepped up to help ABC members fill the void, most notably in its offer of space for the Secret Garden auction, the ABC's main source of revenue. "It was so generous of ABA to let us host our ABC auction prior to the Book Sense awards," ABC president Chauni Haslet said. "That saved us many dollars in facility costs." This year's auction raised $19,000 for the ABC, "neither a high nor a low," said ABC's Anne Irish, who has headed the annual auction since its inception in 1998 and who was just named ABC's executive director.
While some members hoped that the ABC would reinstate the dinner next year, they also voiced the hope that the joint efforts of the ABA and ABC would continue. As Haslet put it, "The ABA/ CBC/ABC cooperation is fabulous. We all need each other, and will all benefit by not duplicating efforts. Our individual organizations will only be stronger by using all of our resources."